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2018 was a crazy year for retail. Some of the world’s best-known brands exited the stage, while others, particularly in the online space, took large strides forward. We’ll look at 5 of our top predictions for retail in 2019.
Our Top 5 Predictions
1: Amazon Explodes
Any conversation about retail – both online and off – has to start with Amazon. With revenue increasing to $56.58bn in Q3 of 2018, its Q4 is set to be record-breaking. To put it starkly: Amazon’s market share is almost 50% of online sales and 5% of all retail sales. This is not just big; it is enormous.
Net revenue of Amazon from 1st quarter 2007 to 3rd quarter 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars) [statista]
It seems like 2018 was Amazon’s year to consolidate, gather its forces, and launch its big push in 2019. It was a year to integrate Whole Foods into its overall business. A year to set its flag down firmly in retail-tech, with its Amazon Go stores. A year to consolidate Prime Day as a major shopping day on the US (and, increasingly, international) calendar.
We predict that 2019 is the year Amazon shifts up a gear. It will mean a more holistic experience that will make Amazon a part of everything that consumers do, from shopping online to shopping in stores, buying medicines, investing, and extending into transport and even work itself – Amazon’s AWS is the fastest-growing enterprise software company ever, and the chances are that your company uses AWS, at least indirectly.
It also means that other companies are going to have to up their game in order to compete. One way is by integrating technology such as that provided by Trigo Vision, which turns any “regular” retail store into a smart, “Amazon Go”-type of experience.
2: Technology Meets Brick & Mortar
New innovations are not merely announced at flashy annual conferences. They are being implemented and experienced by consumers right now.
Payment methods, for example, are changing rapidly. How often have you been waiting in line at your favorite coffee shop, to see someone paying for their flat white with their phone, contactless credit card, and very soon, even their face?
In-store tech is exploding too. Smart barcodes and pricing tags already allow stores to dynamically change pricing and give consumers rich information regarding the origin and make-up of their food and FMCGs.
Consumers use small barcode scanners as they shop, allowing them to skip the drama of waiting in line at the checkout. And the mentioned above Amazon Go is totally changing the game with a seamless, “just walk out” checkout experience.
2019 is set to be a year in which these technologies aren’t just quirky added extras in niche stores. The biggest chains will be rolling them out as standard, and our retail experience is set to change significantly.
3: Collaborations FTW
The industry has seen its fair share of consolidations and bankruptcies this year. Having learned from their experiences or those of others, 2019 retailers are going to leverage collaborations and partnerships to succeed. Already there have been some interesting ones, with Kohl’s and Amazon being one of the more fascinating.
Prepare to see a whole lot more of these partnerships and collaborations as tech companies partner with retailers, retailers with one another, and expect the acquisition list to keep growing in 2019.
4: Facebook Jumps Into Ecommerce
Facebook – and Google to a lesser extent – have been cautious in entering the world of ecommerce. In 2017, Facebook made $40bn in revenue, with $39.9 billion of this coming from ad revenue.
Facebook will be eyeing the trillion-dollar-plus ecommerce market and figuring out how to get in on the action.
Our prediction? Watch out for a Whatsapp-Facebook-Instagram play. Where a Facebook-created, WeChat-like interface rivals Amazon to become the go-to messaging/ecommerce/everything else platform for consumers. You heard it here first.
5: Data and Insights
With technology and retail becoming almost inseparable, using analytics, data, and particularly actionable insights is going to become the bread and butter of retail companies. Without it, they almost can’t survive, but with it, they can take on the biggest companies in the world – technology is a great leveler.
Companies like Market Beyond will enable ecommerce and brick and mortar organizations to compete, and thrive, against the competition. Companies will be able to leverage insights drawn from the massive amounts of data being generated at every moment.
We predict that in 2019, this will be the key differentiator between the winners, and the also-rans.
A Big Year Ahead
2018’s retail landscape saw some big changes, but it will be nothing compared to what’s in store in 2019. Technology continues to disrupt the space, and together with positive momentum and gains over previous years, hopefully, 2019 looks to be the best year for retail.